Police in the Bay of Plenty town are a little red-faced over ' />

Whakatane's latest crime-fighting initiative has itself become the victim of crime.

Police in the Bay of Plenty town are a little red-faced over the theft of one of their new mountain bikes after it was left unlocked in a park.

T he bike was one of two acquired three weeks ago by police to enable them to get around the town centre quickly and quietly.

However, the team is now down to one bike after an officer had to hide the other one he was using in a park on Tuesday night and join his colleagues in an urgent call-out.

In his haste he forgot to lock the bike and it was stolen from its bushy resting place.

"This proves that no one - not even the police - are immune to opportunistic thefts," said Senior Sergeant Bruce Jenkins.

Sergeant Yvonne Parker told NZPA the bike had not yet been returned but police hoped it would be.

She said the bikes were popular with the officers and had proved an effective tool for policing as officers could not be easily seen or heard approaching.

The bike was bought at cost for the benefit of the community and a small reward would be offered for its return , Mr Jenkins said.

- NZPA